One of the most breathtaking journeys along the California Coast is the Highway 1 Discovery Route, which encompasses a 101 mile road trip that showcases 10 different artisan towns and seaside villages, each one rich in character and history.
While our journey did not allow for a full tour of each town, the highlight included the small community of Cayucos, an anchor in San Luis Obispo County.
The home base was Cayucos Beach Inn (cayucosbeachinn.com), which is within walking distance to the many features of the quaint town of Cayucos and only a short drive to the center of Morro Bay.
Upon our arrival, we parked the car and set out walking to visit some of the highlights, including:
- Cayucos Cellars (cayucoscellars.com) for a variety of Bordeaux and Rhone wines
- Cayucos Candy Company (cayucoscandycounter.com) for a huge selection of candy and fresh, cool ice cream
- Remember When Antiques for antiques and collectibles
- Lady Spencer Galleria (ladyspencer.com) for hand-crafted gifts
- Brown Butter Cookie Company (brownbuttercookies.com) for a second dose of home-baked cookies that are as tasty right out of the oven as they are for the ride home
- Walk on the historic pier in Cayucos to learn about the history and restoration efforts of this small beach community.
Other nearby attractions of note include:
- El Moro Elfin Forest, adjacent to the Morro Bay Estuary, which supports 200 species of plants as well as 110 kinds of birds, 22 species of mammals and 13 species of reptiles and amphibians
- The Audubon Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in the town of Los Osos with trails that lead through Monterey Cypress and eucalyptus to two fresh water ponds and around a salt marsh to the edge of Morro Bay
- Montana de Oro, which about 25 minutes from Morro Bay and is a hiker’s paradise with trails that cover a wide variety of eco-systems including rugged cliffs, seclude sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons and hills
- Estero Bluffs State Park, a kelp forest with trails along the Estero Bluffs, just north of Cayucos. Featuring views of sea otters and 355 acres of grassland-dominated coastal terrace that slopes from Highway 1 to the Pacific Ocean.
Best bets for dining:
- Hoppe’s Garden Bistro (Cayucos), located in the Old Way Station, with a rich history dating back to 1876. As a vegetarian, my favorite menu items were the butternut squash soup and butter lettuce salad. My companion’s favorite item was the sea scallops.
- Schooners Wharf (Cayucos), with views of the ocean. You will want to try the calamari strips and a signature cocktail while soaking in the fresh sea breeze from the patio, then choose from a wide variety of fresh seafood and steaks
- For more dining options in Cayucos and the other neighboring towns, visit http://www.winecoastcountry.com/cayucos-dining/
For more information and directions as well as hotel reservations, visit WineCoastCountry.com.